So this month I'll let you in on some more of my thoughts, but first be warned the sun really is getting to my head. In temperatures easily reaching the 40's (and definitely hotter in the car), I'm finding it hard to do anything sensible these days!
A school that will allow her to learn and become a useful part of society and her family. So much of my encouraging and counselling of our families is to help them understand that their child is not cursed or useless, but precious in God's sight and able, in their own way to bring something special to the lives of those around them. So once we reach Mary's stage, really she should be in a group of other children, who learn songs, and interact with each other, who have fun with play and learning to count. But there is nothing for these children at all. The ones that are sent to school never make it to the next class as they fail the end of year exams. I had one 14 year old still in Class 1 because she never got through. We teach the family that function is more important than exam marks. So instead we encourage them to work on numbers so eventually they might be able to handle money. And to write letters, but prioritise the ones in their names so at least they could sign their name. But really, who are we kidding??? These children need more....more support, more opportunity to play and learn, more chance in life. Is that too much to ask?
In the photo above you can also see Sarah Withers (in red). Sarah is the new Occupational Therapist who will join us later in September for a year. She came out for a 2 week initial visit and we were greatly encouraged at her quick adaptions to culture and climate, now all she needs to get used to is our kids, Abu and the carpenter Allusan!! I have been praying and waiting for a very long time for another therapist to join our team, and even now we would love to expand and train another national. This however would need yet another international trained therapist to join our team. So if you know of anyone who would be interested, please do send them my details!!
From time to time, people ask me about specific children that I have written about previously, and one of those is Ola. If you remember 2 years back, Ola we rescued from the government hospital, where he had been abandoned for over a year. Even there he was severely neglected and I had been told they had not been able to place him anywhere due to his disability. 3 weeks and many prayers later, we managed to take him to his new home, the best orphanage I work in here in Sierra Leone. The children and staff welcomed him with open arms and there he has been well loved and fed and cared for since. Initially I thought that some of his delayed development was due to malnourishment and neglect, however now he is in a good place he has not progressed as much as I hoped. That said, Ola is bright and happy, more alert and interacting with people around him. He has recently got a new 1-1 carer, another Isatu, but she seems much more able to cope with his daily physio needs as well as feeding, washing, dressing, playing and all the other things a small child needs!! So here are a few photos of him, the first one - shy and clingy, how he was 2 years ago, the last one – exhausted at the end of a long work out!!
And finally I want to let you know that I will be coming home for leave in the UK for some of July and August. I'm already looking forward to that light at the end of this part of the tunnel. I hope to get some proper rest, but will also be doing some business – I'm hoping to start the process of registering this work as a UK charity, and I'll also have a chance to catch up with some of you my supporters. If you particularly want me to come to your church or house group, please do let me know so I can start planning, although no promises as I do want some rest too! Also, if anyone knows anyone who might have a car I could borrow for some of the time I'm needing to get around in the UK, then please, I'd love to hear from you.
So I'll leave you with this hopeful thought as we all wonder 'why?' to many things we don't understand about this world and think about 'what's just around the next corner?' ......
With Love, Vez